Lower Murrimbidgee News
News From The Interior (From our Correspondent.)
The Sydney Morning Herald
22 July 1846
There is nothing worthy of record to be noted from this dull quarter; the monotony of a border life affords little matter of interest to the gay denizens of the City.
The "bush- man" moves within his quiet and retired sphere, unheeded and but little thought of, (though not " unknown"), until the fruit of his year's hard service renders him a subject for anxious enquiry and interesting speculation amid "the busy haunts of men."Incidents do not "crowd" upon the squatters individually or collectively, and although the dullness of a dull routine of events may be occasionally varied by the incursions of the wild dog amid the folds, or the excursion of a gentle shepherd from his flock, setting his master and Mr. Murray alike at defiance, still his occupation, is "flat, stale," and I had well nigh said -"unprofitable."
I must address myself to that never-failing subject - "the weather," in order to maintain my character as a correspondent, which I fear must be somewhat "clouded," owing to my long silence.
Since the date of my last, we have had a rather copious fall of rain at different intervals, which descended with great violence. This season has been most remarkable for the peculiarity of its atmospheric changes; and I do not remember a winter similar to the present in this respect. The autumn closed with most severe and unprecedented gales of wind, (unaccompanied by rain and highly electrical,) and was throughout of a very arid character.
The month of May brought us little rain, and more than an average of boisterous weather; what rain did full was accompanied by hurricanes from the south-south-west, and piercingly cold, much sleet driving up before it. June (our midwinter) set in clear and frosty, (the frosts severe in the extreme,) but the changes in the atmosphere during the whole of that month were most remarkable.
The frost disappeared about the end of the first week, and from the 7th to 16th, the weather was sultry and oppressive; mornings and evenings generally still and cloudy, but strong puffs of warm air prevailing from the northward during noon, at which time heavy banks of clouds formed to windward, rolling heavily up, threatening a storm, but invariably dispersing on the zenith.
On the 16th, which was a most oppressive day, a dull rumbling sound was distinctly audible as the masses of clouds drove up in the usual way from the northward, and which increased greatly towards, noon, when it resembled the noise which, would be produced by the trundling of an empty tin case upon a wheelbarrow, and was most decidedly not thunder: many persons noticed the peculiar noise, and we all feared a violent hurricane was coming up, but nothing more than heavy puffs of dry, warm air succeeded, and the rumbling sounds passed off to the eastward. Towards night, the wind blew half a gale, and about midnight the rain descended in torrents, when the wind moderated. I scarcely ever saw rain fall with so much violence, which it continued to do during great part of the 17th, when it cleared off, and cold, raw weather succeeded, frosts of unusual severity marking the passage of each night.
Some heavy rains again fell towards the close of the month, and July came in with strong raw winds at south, and from their direction and temperature indicated snow towards Maneroo.
On ascending the high ranges I could discover the snow-capped summits of the Australian Alps, lifting their white and cheerless crests in beautiful undulations in the far horizon, making by their dazzling whiteness the light-blue hills of the intervening forests appear (in contrast) black, frowning, and gloomy.
On Sunday morning, 5th July, at day-dawn, we were visited by a heavy snow-storm, a circumstance unprecedented in this part of the colony. It did certainly in 1844 snow a little here, but the flakes thawed almost as soon as they touched the earth, or at most lay only for an hour upon the summits of the highest hills. This storm covered hill and dale with one uniform cloak of cheerless white, and the snow did not thaw until about ten o'clock.
The aboriginals I have questioned remember nothing similar to it. A sharp game of "snowballing" gave all hands an appetite for breakfast, and a new era has been established amongst us, ordinary incidents bearing date from "the snow-storm". Since that occurrence the weather has been piercingly cold; a little rain has fallen, and some snow mingled therewith, but thawing in its fall. Now we have bright sunny days, but the most severely cold and frosty nights I ever remember.
Altogether this has been a most extraordinary season, and an interesting one to the meteorologist. The term reminds me that during clear nights many bright meteors, of different degrees of magnitude, have been visible; but one particularly beautiful about the 8th or 9th of June, a little after twilight, and in the northeastern heavens.
Ploughing and seed time has been mostly brought to a close with us, and although we have providentially been blessed with sufficient rain to enable us to complete so necessary a labour, the earth is not sufficiently supplied with moisture to meet an early or a dry spring, both of which I fear we shall have; and unless the season is particularly favourable, our fears of a failure in the ensuing harvest will (I dread) be too fully verified in the result.
Wheat is scarce here, and still rising in price. Labour is scarce, but no advance takes place in wages. Stock of all kinds have suffered, and still suffer, from the continued cold weather; and our grass does not grow, the heavy frosts and keen winds neutralising the effects of sunshine and rain.
About three weeks since, the body of a man in a state of nudity was discovered in a water hole near the Hume. When taken out it was found to be in an advanced stage of decomposition; but the medical gentleman who examined it could find no trace of violence James Wilson, Esq , J.P., held an enquiry on the case; but although many persons were examined, no identification could be established. It is supposed the man had been drinking, and whilst under the influence of liquor had drowned himself; but there appears no ground for this conclusion, farther than that a public-house is in the vicinity. The case is involved in mystery.
The Rev. Mr. Brigstock, from Yass, halted in Gundagai on Monday night, the 6th instant, on his way homewards from the Tumut, united several couples in the " holy bonds, &c," on Tuesday morning, and baptized some children; but the townspeople complain loudly of this "flying" fashion of doing things, and consider that Mr. Brigstock ought to visit Gundagai at stated and regular intervals to perform church duties, and such other service as devolves upon him as a minister of the Gospel.
They say that on the present occasion several persons were disappointed of baptism to their children, in consequence of Mr. Brigstock's hurry to escape from Gundagai, he having arrived there late on Monday night, and leaving by 10 o'clock on Tuesday. They also complain that he does not perform church duties in the village once in three months, as it is supposed he is bound to do.